Based out of Slane in the Royal County that is Meath, Paddy Califf’s involvement in the haulage industry spans back over three decades.
Born into a family of long-time haulers, it was always inevitable that Paddy himself would end up behind the wheel. The family’s involvement in the sector was not started by this Paddy Califf, however, but Paddy’s grandfather, Paddy Senior.
“I grew up with trucks at home. We were in the coal business at home.” Paddy explained to Kevin of That’sFarming.
This is where Paddy obtained the “grá” for the industry, with Paddy senior the man behind the founding of the family coal haulage business in 1958, S&P Califf Ltd. Their journey began with some TS3 Cummer trucks, though things have progressed rapidly since then.
“I heard dad saying there was TS3 Cummer (trucks) and that type of stuff.” Paddy said.
This marked the beginning of what has become a lifetime involvement in the sector for the family, with Paddy taking over the company from his father Seamus, who took it over from his own father, Paddy Califf senior.
“I got into it (haulage) through my father.” Paddy explained.
“In the late 60’s, dad would have been with him (Paddy’s grandfather).” He added.
This is not where the haulage influence in the family ends either, with Paddy’s uncle also keeping trucks of his own, hauling livestock and animal feed. So dedicated and passionate about the haulage industry is Paddy, that he and his new bride even made the trip to the church on his wedding day in, you guessed it, a truck.
“When we got married, Edel and I, we went to the chapel in the lorries.” Paddy said.
“We had five lorries. One for myself, one for herself, and one for each best man and bridesmaid…We even made the front of the local paper when we did it” the Slane man added.
Journey to date -
For Paddy, the dream of driving trucks was one gained at a very young age whilst out on haulage trips with his father, Seamus, in their Hino ZM 6-wheeler.
“That’s how it all started for me, going off with Dad for spins and going around with the coal.” Paddy stated.
“When dad had the tipping trucks, he had the Hino ZM 6-wheelers…We had a few Bedford lorries when we were at the coal as well.” He added.
This is where the addiction to lorries was officially born and nothing would do the Meath native but return home to work within the family ranks on a full-time basis. This is why Paddy decided to drop out of school aged 15 to pursue his passion further.
“I left school at 15 to go working with Dad full-time at the coal.” Paddy told Kevin of That’sFarming.
“I went from there, onto driving the tippers.” He added.
Before making the transition to behind the wheel of the family’s tipper lorries, Paddy first sought to obtain his rigid licence. Once this was achieved, he soon went onto complete his artic licence and eventually claimed his rightful place behind the wheel of the family truck.
“I went and done the artic then when I got the rigid licence.” Paddy noted.
Since Paddy began his haulage career with his family over thirty years ago, the 45-year-old has not left his family’s side and, as previously mentioned, he eventually took over the running of S&P Califf from his father, Seamus.
“I would have only really been with the family (business).” The haulier noted.
“I have done bits and pieces for other lads to help them out, but It would have been a ‘home game’ all of the time.” Paddy stated.
The main man behind the running of S&P Califf Ltd is the man himself, Paddy Califf. He is though, however, still helped out when needed by his father Seamus. He is also helped out with the book work at home “by her good self”, Paddy’s wife Edel.
“It is myself on the tipper and dad helping out when I’m under pressure, that would be really it.” Paddy said.
“He is still tipping away doing a bit. He is still there to keep an eye on me…He has his work cut out for him” Paddy laughed.
Services-wise, the main port of call for S&P Califf Ltd is now tipper work, carried out for local companies such as Roadstone.
“The main business at the minute is the tipping work, drawing for Roadstone. Stone and tarmacadam, that would be the main work.” Paddy explained.
The coal enterprise run by the family is what Paddy describes as a “seasonal game”, with the majority of coal-related work carried out in the winter months.
The team behind S&P Califf Ltd run their operations with one solitary truck, a Scania G410 purchased only this year.
“I got it on the 12th of July and started working it on Friday the 13th.” Paddy chuckled.
“We are doing all right. This evening 15 weeks ago I brought it home and it has 30,000kms on it already. It is earning its keep.” He added.
This truck replaced a 2008 Scania R420 within the fleet, while the new truck has had its body fitted by Jimmy Kelly.
Make - Scania
Model - G410
Year - 2018
Extras - Automatic Gearbox, clutch on demand, leather interior, Twin cameras and more.
The team also have the old reliable coal delivery lorry within their ranks, though it is mainly only used for coal runs throughout the year.
“We still have the red one for tipping around but it is only there for tipping around at the coal.” Paddy noted.
Future Plans -
In terms of the future, one thing that may occur in the coming years is the ceasing of the coal delivery services offered by Paddy and the Califf family.
“It is a dying trade, to be honest, with the way things have gone with smokeless coal…You are able to buy coal everywhere now.” Paddy said.
“The coal man will be a thing of the past shortly.” Paddy conceded.
The main plan for the coming years is to consolidate the progress made by the company since its foundation in the late 50’s.
“The plan is to keep going with the tipper work for as long as we can last,” Paddy said.
“If we can keep it going the way it is going and get a living out of it, owe nobody, with nobody knocking at our doors, then we are happy enough.” Paddy added.
One thing not likely in the future, is the addition of another truck to the fleet, with Paddy noting it just adds more challenges than anything. The father of four (three boys and a girl) admits he may be the last Califf to get behind the wheel of a truck, though you never know in life.
“At the minute I couldn’t see them getting into the game, because they don’t seem to have much interest.” the haulier said.
“But then again they are still young yet…You never know.”
Why Haulage -
Proud to continue an enterprise started by his grandfather many decades ago, Paddy is as determined as ever to continue flying the family flag within the sector.
“I have a great love for the trucks and taking over from my dad was a great honour too, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.” Paddy said.
An avid truck enthusiast and attendee of truck shows, Paddy doesn’t feel he is simply working a job, but rather living a way of life.
“I would have a great interest in the trucks. I reckon that I don’t actually work because every day you put your foot on the step it is still the same as the first day.” Paddy advised.
If you would like to contact Paddy RE: Haulage services, you can do so via his Facebook page here.